Elaine Hopely - Rowing the Atlantic Ocean 7 September 18.00 for 18.30

Thu 7th September 2017 at 18.00 - 20.30

Elaine Hopely - Rowing the Atlantic Ocean 7 September 18.00 for 18.30

Here is a Link to Elaine's Web 


On Thursday, the Club heard from Elaine Hopley the remarkable story of how she raced solo across the Atlantic Ocean in a 6.87 metre rowing boat.  In the process, Elaine, who is from Dunblane, set a new record for the fastest woman to cross the Atlantic unsupported from east to west. Her achievement is now formally recognised as a world record in the Guinness Book of Records. 

A major part of Elaine’s motivation was to raise money for Alzheimer Scotland, in memory of her mother who suffered from Alzheimer’s, and whom Elaine had nursed for seventeen years.

Extreme sporting activity is nothing new for Elaine.  She is passionate about adrenaline sports and pushing her body and mind to the limits. She won the inaugural Woman’s Scottish Mountain Bike Cross Country; she completed the 1,000-mile from Land’s End to John o’ Groats in less than seven days; and has undertaken solo unsupported bicycle tours of Australia, New Zealand and Chile. But, she admitted, the prospect of crossing the Atlantic singlehandedly was daunting.

The idea for this challenge came in the form of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, an annual event organised by Atlantic Campaigns.  Recognised as the toughest challenge for rowers, Elaine began her preparations two years ahead of the event that was to start in December 2016.  The list of qualifications required for entry is daunting, including navigation, first-aid, radio proficiency and, inevitably, medical fitness.  Not one to take things by half, Elaine worked up her fitness to the point where she undertook 27 hours unbroken rowing on an Ergo rowing machine in the Dunblane Centre – an effort which itself was a record. 

Her boat, which she named Jan in memory of her mother, was bought as a shell from a specialist company.  It was fitted out by Elaine, complete with its complex electrical systems, and including a machine to provide desalinated water.

The twelve boats which started the Atlantic Challenge left La Gomera in the Canaries on 14 December 2016.  Only four of the competitors were rowing solo; Elaine was the only solo woman in the Challenge.  The following weeks brought enormous challenges including 60 foot swells, 25 knot winds, tropical storms and, nearer the goal in Antigua, temperatures of 40 degrees Centigrade.  There was continuous sleep deprivation, but also remarkable sightings of a minke whale, dolphins which swam alongside the boat, and various unusual birds –as well as a flying fish which came on board, hitting and bruising Elaine.

However, 59 days, 19 hours and 14 minutes, and 2,954 miles after leaving La Gomera, she reached the finish line in Antigua, an amazing achievement.  Asked about her fund-raising, Elaine replied that she has already raised £17,000 for Alzheimer Scotland.  Donations to Alzheimer Scotland can be made to her website: www.eh-oceanrow.com. Thanking Elaine, David Mackie expressed his admiration for her outstanding effort, a sentiment which, he was sure, would be echoed by all members.

Here is a Link to Elaine's Web 

At the meeting, two new members of the Club, David Chisholm and Steve Bassett, were introduced by their sponsor Ken Murray. They were welcomed by President George Morrison who formally inaugurated them into Rotary membership.